September 17, 2001
Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd. is the latest to settle a suit involving the Americans with Disabilities Act. In particular, Norwegian has agreed that passengers with visual impairments can travel on its ships with the same rights as sighted travelers. This is important because NCL reaped much criticism in the past 12 months for treatment of blind passengers; one, traveling alone, was turned away at the gangway at embarkation because he had no sighted companion to act as guide. Two other complaints were filed with the Justice Department. Those who registered their complaints say they were also told that a doctors’ letter, stating fitness for travelers, was required and they must sign forms releasing NCL from financial liabilities for injuries incurred on the cruise. As a result the Justice Department filed the suit last January. As a result of the settlement, NCL’s policies will change; blind travelers will not be required to share a cabin with a sighted passenger. Nor will they be required to obtain permission from doctors or assume financial liability in case of onboard injury.